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Inside the Middle East
December 20, 2012
Posted: 943 GMT

A look back at the highlights of 2012 covered on Inside the Middle East.

Want to see more?  Follow the show on Facebook for all the latest from 'Inside the Middle East.'

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Filed under: Culture •Egypt •Inside The Middle East •Israel •Jerusalem •Lebanon •Morocco •Palestinians •Pictures •Religion •UAE •Video •Women


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January 30, 2011
Posted: 1143 GMT
Thousands of protestors continue to pour onto streets in Egypt demanding Hosni Mubarak to step down.
Thousands of protestors continue to pour onto streets in Egypt demanding Hosni Mubarak to step down.
clashes continue between Egyptian protestors and riot police .
clashes continue between Egyptian protestors and riot police .
Egyptians press for freedom on the 6th day of demonstrations .
Egyptians press for freedom on the 6th day of demonstrations .
Social media proved to be vital in spreading the word to protestors across Egypt.
Social media proved to be vital in spreading the word to protestors across Egypt.
Khaled Said became a symbol after allegedly being tortured to death on the hands of police in Egypt.
Khaled Said became a symbol after allegedly being tortured to death on the hands of police in Egypt.
President Mubarak demanded the government to resign after continuos criticism from demonstrators.
President Mubarak demanded the government to resign after continuos criticism from demonstrators.

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Filed under: Egypt •Pictures •Protests


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October 5, 2010
Posted: 1211 GMT

Screen shot of video posted on You Tube (AFP/Getty Images)

The Israeli military Tuesday denounced  a video that surfaced on YouTube that showed what appeared to be an Israeli soldier dancing around a blindfolded and bound Palestinian prisoner.

The video comes after a number of social media controversies have engulfed the Israeli military. This summer, a female former Israeli soldier posted photos of herself posing in front of blindfolded Palestinian prisoners. The photos and her subsequent defense of her actions sparked international criticism of the military.

It was not known when the latest video was shot, but it appears to have been posted in 2008.

The clip, which first aired Monday night on Israel's Channel 10, shows a man dressed in an Israeli army fatigues dancing next to a blindfolded female woman.

Contacted by CNN, the Israeli military said it in a statement that is was investigating the incident and that such examinations would now become "standard practice in cases in which similar behavior is alleged"

The statement went on to read:

"The IDF denounces actions such as those depicted in the videos, and continues to make every effort to eliminate such behavior through briefings to soldiers, directives to officers, military orders, and punishment when necessary. Our soldiers are held to the ethical standards set forth by the IDF Code of Ethics, which they are taught time and again, from basic training to the most senior command courses. The videos are isolated cases that do not represent the IDF as a whole. "

Read the rest of this entry »

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September 24, 2010
Posted: 1457 GMT

Our team in Baghdad sent us these photos of the latest graduating class of Iraqi police cadets - over 500 of them, all set to become members of the  Iraqi Federal police.

The press corps along with American and Iraqi dignitaries were treated to a display of hostage rescue exercises, martial arts demonstrations, and crowd control techniques.

Iraqi federal police in riot gear

Our correspondent in Baghdad, Ben Wedeman, reports that while the multinational forces have put much  effort and resources into building up Iraqi's security apparatus, there is still real  concern about Iraqi force's human rights record.

A recent Amnesty International report estimated that more than thirty-thousand Iraqis are being held without trial and that torture is widespread.

Iraqi federal police showing off their martial arts skills

The Italian trainers of these Iraqi police say human rights awareness was a major component of the cadet's education and they think the formal training will make a difference.

"They taught us not to beat citizens" said newly minted officer Ali Abid.

A lesson that everyone hopes will not soon be forgotten.

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May 19, 2010
Posted: 1647 GMT

A platform for Kuwaiti teens to express themselves artistically, the Graffiti Student Competition is underway until May 21st. In conservative Kuwait, it was surprising to come across what's considered a "rebellious art from."

Cameraman James Stacey getting footage of the Graffiti Student Competition, part of the Al-Watan Daily Youth Initiative.
Cameraman James Stacey getting footage of the Graffiti Student Competition, part of the Al-Watan Daily Youth Initiative.
The paintings were sprayed by groups of four, all in their early teens. The newspaper also organized a journalism workshop and a photography competition.
The paintings were sprayed by groups of four, all in their early teens. The newspaper also organized a journalism workshop and a photography competition.

This Youth Initiative is the brainchild of Dina Al-Mallak, the General Manager of the English-language Al Watan Daily newspaper. We chatted with her today – see more on our show June 2nd.

Find out more about the Al Watan Daily Youth Initiative

'Power' - one of the frontrunners for the three top spots as Kuwaitis continue to vote via SMS.
'Power' – one of the frontrunners for the three top spots as Kuwaitis continue to vote via SMS.

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Filed under: Culture •Kuwait •Pictures


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August 3, 2009
Posted: 914 GMT
Rym Momtaz/CNN. The shores of the Nile.
Rym Momtaz/CNN. The shores of the Nile.
Rym Momtaz/CNN. Aerial view of the Cairo Zoo in Giza, established in 1891, it displays rare imported plants and an impressive array of African wild animals.
Rym Momtaz/CNN. Aerial view of the Cairo Zoo in Giza, established in 1891, it displays rare imported plants and an impressive array of African wild animals.
Rym Momtaz/CNN. A Metro station. The Cairo metro is Africa's only full fledged metro system, it has two operational lines and a third one in the works. An average of 2 million people ride the metro every day.
Rym Momtaz/CNN. A Metro station. The Cairo metro is Africa's only full fledged metro system, it has two operational lines and a third one in the works. An average of 2 million people ride the metro every day.
Rym Momtaz/CNN. Coptic Cairo. With millions of Egyptian Copts, Coptic Cairo in Old Cairo encompasses impressive Churches and Christian historic sites. The Hanging Church one of the oldest churches in Egypt dating back to the 3rd century A.D. stands close to the Ben Ezra Synagogue which was established in 1115, in what was previously a Coptic church that was built in the 8th century, after the Coptic Church needed to sell it to raise money for taxes.
Rym Momtaz/CNN. Coptic Cairo. With millions of Egyptian Copts, Coptic Cairo in Old Cairo encompasses impressive Churches and Christian historic sites. The Hanging Church one of the oldest churches in Egypt dating back to the 3rd century A.D. stands close to the Ben Ezra Synagogue which was established in 1115, in what was previously a Coptic church that was built in the 8th century, after the Coptic Church needed to sell it to raise money for taxes.
Rym Momtaz/CNN. A Coptic woman lights a candle inside the Hanging Church in Coptic Cairo. Millions of Copts live in Cairo today
Rym Momtaz/CNN. A Coptic woman lights a candle inside the Hanging Church in Coptic Cairo. Millions of Copts live in Cairo today
Rym Momtaz/CNN. Shisha on sale. A favorite social pastime in Egypt.
Rym Momtaz/CNN. Shisha on sale. A favorite social pastime in Egypt.
Rym Momtaz/CNN. Pictures from the 1940s and 1950s 'Golden Age' of Egyptian cinema hang in an alleyway. The only official cinema industry in the Arab world, Egyptian cinema is wildly popular around the region.
Rym Momtaz/CNN. Pictures from the 1940s and 1950s 'Golden Age' of Egyptian cinema hang in an alleyway. The only official cinema industry in the Arab world, Egyptian cinema is wildly popular around the region.
Rym Momtaz/CNN. Sunset over Cairo on a clear evening. More than 20 million people live in Cairo, the largest city in the Arab world.
Rym Momtaz/CNN. Sunset over Cairo on a clear evening. More than 20 million people live in Cairo, the largest city in the Arab world.

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Filed under: Egypt •Pictures


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May 22, 2009
Posted: 844 GMT
MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images. Young Israelis dance with national flags in hand at the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site, in Jerusalem's Old City during celebrations on May 21, 2009 of Jerusalem Day which marks the anniversary of the reunification of the holy city. Right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that Jerusalem would remain Israel's capital 'forever' as the Jewish state marked the 42nd anniversary of the occupation and annexation of Arab east Jerusalem in the 1967 six day Arab-Israeli war.
MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images. Young Israelis dance with national flags in hand at the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site, in Jerusalem's Old City during celebrations on May 21, 2009 of Jerusalem Day which marks the anniversary of the reunification of the holy city. Right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that Jerusalem would remain Israel's capital 'forever' as the Jewish state marked the 42nd anniversary of the occupation and annexation of Arab east Jerusalem in the 1967 six day Arab-Israeli war.
David Silverman/Getty Images. A Jewish youth holds up a poster condemning US President Barack Oama's Middle East peace plan as he passes the US Consulate on the way to the Old City on May 21, 2009 in Jerusalem, Israel. Thousands of national religious Jews celebrated Jerusalem Day, the anniversary according to the Hebrew calendar of the city's liberation from Jordanian forces during the 1967 Six Day War.
David Silverman/Getty Images. A Jewish youth holds up a poster condemning US President Barack Oama's Middle East peace plan as he passes the US Consulate on the way to the Old City on May 21, 2009 in Jerusalem, Israel. Thousands of national religious Jews celebrated Jerusalem Day, the anniversary according to the Hebrew calendar of the city's liberation from Jordanian forces during the 1967 Six Day War.
Yin Bogu - Pool/Getty Images. An Israeli soldier lights a torch during the Jerusalem Day ceremony at Ammunition hill May 21, 2009 in Jerusalem, Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that all of Jerusalem will remain Israel's capital amidst protests at the Damascus gate of the Old City of Jerusalem wall by eastern Jerusalem Arabs and their supporters.
Yin Bogu – Pool/Getty Images. An Israeli soldier lights a torch during the Jerusalem Day ceremony at Ammunition hill May 21, 2009 in Jerusalem, Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that all of Jerusalem will remain Israel's capital amidst protests at the Damascus gate of the Old City of Jerusalem wall by eastern Jerusalem Arabs and their supporters.
David Silverman/Getty Images. Right-wing religious Israelis dance with their national flag outside the Damascus gate of the Old City on May 21, 2009 in Jerusalem, Israel. Thousands of national religious Jews paraded past the US Consulate towards the Old City and the Western Wall in celebration of Jerusalem Day, the anniversary according to the Hebrew calendar of the city's liberation from Jordanian forces during the 1967 Six Day War.
David Silverman/Getty Images. Right-wing religious Israelis dance with their national flag outside the Damascus gate of the Old City on May 21, 2009 in Jerusalem, Israel. Thousands of national religious Jews paraded past the US Consulate towards the Old City and the Western Wall in celebration of Jerusalem Day, the anniversary according to the Hebrew calendar of the city's liberation from Jordanian forces during the 1967 Six Day War.

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Filed under: Israel •Pictures


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April 30, 2009
Posted: 923 GMT
GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images. Jewish youths from communities across the world wave the Israeli national flag at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City, marking Israel's 61st Independence Day on April 29, 2009. Israel today threw a huge birthday bash to celebrate 61 tumultuous years during which the Jewish state made great strides forward but failed to achieve peace with its neighbours.
GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images. Jewish youths from communities across the world wave the Israeli national flag at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City, marking Israel's 61st Independence Day on April 29, 2009. Israel today threw a huge birthday bash to celebrate 61 tumultuous years during which the Jewish state made great strides forward but failed to achieve peace with its neighbours.
GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) stands near his wife Sara (L) and President Shimon Peres (R) as they look up at Israeli Air Force fighter jets during a ceremony for outstanding soldiers, part of Independence Day celebrations, on April 29, 2009 in Jerusalem. Israelis marked Independence Day, celebrating the 61st year since the founding of the Jewish State in 1948.
GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) stands near his wife Sara (L) and President Shimon Peres (R) as they look up at Israeli Air Force fighter jets during a ceremony for outstanding soldiers, part of Independence Day celebrations, on April 29, 2009 in Jerusalem. Israelis marked Independence Day, celebrating the 61st year since the founding of the Jewish State in 1948.
AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images. An Arab-Israeli woman waves a Palestinian flag during a demonstrationg on April 29, 2009 to demand the right of return to the lands from which Palestinians were chased in 1948 on the site of al-Kafrayn, an Arab village among the more than 500 that were razed by Israeli forces at the time of the creation of the Jewish state. As Israel celebrated its 61st anniversary, the demonstrators marched through a small pine forest and the ruins of the village that was torn to the ground on April 19, 1948. Israel has 1.2 million Arab citizens, the descendants of the 160,000 who remained after the creation of the Jewish state while tens of thousands of others fled into exile.
AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images. An Arab-Israeli woman waves a Palestinian flag during a demonstrationg on April 29, 2009 to demand the right of return to the lands from which Palestinians were chased in 1948 on the site of al-Kafrayn, an Arab village among the more than 500 that were razed by Israeli forces at the time of the creation of the Jewish state. As Israel celebrated its 61st anniversary, the demonstrators marched through a small pine forest and the ruins of the village that was torn to the ground on April 19, 1948. Israel has 1.2 million Arab citizens, the descendants of the 160,000 who remained after the creation of the Jewish state while tens of thousands of others fled into exile.
AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images. Arab-Israeli youths, one of them waving a national Palestinian flag, ride horses during a demonstration on April 29, 2009 to demand the right of return to the lands from which they were chased in 1948 on the site of al-Kafrayn, an Arab village among the more than 500 that were razed by Israeli forces at the time of the creation of the Jewish state in 1948.
AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images. Arab-Israeli youths, one of them waving a national Palestinian flag, ride horses during a demonstration on April 29, 2009 to demand the right of return to the lands from which they were chased in 1948 on the site of al-Kafrayn, an Arab village among the more than 500 that were razed by Israeli forces at the time of the creation of the Jewish state in 1948.

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April 27, 2009
Posted: 1836 GMT

From Jomana Karadsheh
CNN

BAGHDAD, Iraq - As we walked down the road leading to the Kadhimiya shrine, workers were repairing shop windows shattered by the blast two days earlier. A small group of Iranian pilgrims stopped at the scene of the bombing to look at flowers, incense, and candy and even traces of a sacrificed sheep in honor of the dead at the modest memorial that has been set up for the victims.

Jomana Karadsheh/CNN. Iranian pilgrims look at the memorial
Jomana Karadsheh/CNN. Iranian pilgrims look at the memorial

On Friday two women in black abayas (robes) blew themselves up close to the Kadhimiya shrine in Baghdad as crowds of worshipers and pilgrims were gathering for Friday prayers. The shrine, which houses the mausoleums of two of the 12 Imams is one of the most sacred sites in Shiia Islam, and attracts thousands of Iraqi and Iranian pilgris every year. The attack killed 65 people, many of whom were Iranian pilgrims, and was described as a "massacre" by survivors.

The mood at the scene of the bombing was pensive. Shop owners stood outside their damaged businesses and speculated on who stood behind the attack. The conspiracy theory mills were in full swing. One man accused the U.S. army saying it was creating turmoil to stay in Iraq and delay its planned withdrawal. The U.S. army has been gradually pulling its troops out of urban areas ahead of the June 30th deadline.

Jomana Karadsheh/CNN
Jomana Karadsheh/CNN

Such bombings usually bare the hallmarks of al-Qaeda in Iraq, which has claimed responsibility for many recent bombings. According to US Military commanders, the group has been significantly weakened, but not fully defeated. Attacks like this one demonstrate AQI’s continued ability to carry out spectacular and deadly attacks in some of the capital's most protected areas.

Despite recent attacks, the men who stood in the shadow of the shrine's golden dome this Sunday, said they still had hope that Iraq would not be drawn back into the vicious cycle of retaliatory attacks and sectarian violence.

This time the bombers were tens of meters away and the shrine was not damaged. But the attack still reminded people of the bombing of the golden dome of the Samarra shrine in 2006 which unleashed a brutal sectarian war claiming the lives of tens of thousands of Iraqis.

As we wrapped up our shoot, I noticed a black banner mourning the victims and demanding that the government protect the Kadhimiya shrine. It was the government's inability to protect its people and holy sites from such attacks three years ago that pushed the militias to take security matters into their own hands. As the up-tick in violence underscores the fragility of the relative peace Iraq has enjoyed over the past year, Iraqis can only hope the government will do more this time to safeguard the country from a return to violence.

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April 22, 2009
Posted: 1152 GMT

From Cal Perry
CNN

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey is in town! You know the world has gone Twitter crazy when the fastest-growing social network in the world comes Baghdad.

Bassil Youssef/CNN. Jack Dorsey, Twitter cofounder sitting front row, fourth from the right. Next to him sits a representative of AT&T and other companies.
Bassil Youssef/CNN. Jack Dorsey, Twitter cofounder sitting front row, fourth from the right. Next to him sits a representative of AT&T and other companies.

Baghdad is one of the most dangerous, broken and sometimes backward-seeming cities in the world. Yet if you set out across Baghdad, you can see it has regrown a tremendous amount in a short time.

As we drove to meet with Dorsey, we saw people on the streets, and in restaurants and Internet cafes, in numbers that you just never saw during the height of civil war here.

So. no wonder twitter is in town. And they're not alone – executives from Google, AT&T and Youtube are also part of a delegation sponsored by the US State Department.

The executives are seeing presentations from 6 different ministries. One problem, however, is that while people in Iraq would probably like to "tweet" – they can't. Six years of war have torn this country apart – the infrastructure must be rebuilt first.

Bassil Youssef/CNN. Iraqi government officials sitting with the US companies delegations listening to the presentation by an Iraqi professor.
Bassil Youssef/CNN. Iraqi government officials sitting with the US companies delegations listening to the presentation by an Iraqi professor.

Businessman Aziz Alnassiri laid out the problem pretty clearly: "Most ministries, the guys who are sitting here – they just use (personal) computers for email. And they don't even have (government) email addresses, they use Yahoo. Most of the Iraqi government uses Yahoo as their trusted email server. Which is all wrong, of course. They should have their own network – their own servers."

The Iraqi government can't even estimate how many people have access to the Internet. And electrical power is unreliable across Iraq – making it all the more difficult for people like Dorsey to get companies off the ground.

Bassil Youssef/CNN.  The head of Mustansiriya University giving a presentation about the university IT projects.
Bassil Youssef/CNN. The head of Mustansiriya University giving a presentation about the university IT projects.

But Dorsey wants more than just Iraqi citizens on Twitter – he wants the Iraqi government on Twitter. "We'd like to be a valuable service. We'd like to create something that the entire world can use. And especially with this market. Because what we've seen and what we've learned is that 85 percent of the people here have mobile phones. And a large number of them want to participate in the government. And the interesting thing about Twitter as we've seen in the US is that it allows a lot of transparency as to what is happening in the government," he told me.

It is an open market – and without question, there is money to be made in Iraq for these companies if the violence continues to stay at a low level. Which begs the question: can executives like these bring Iraq back - to the 21st century.

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